After compiling a list of the most essential LGBT movies, The Advocate is pitting the top 32 entries against one another in a series of one-on-one face-offs. In this round, the groundbreaking drama Philadelphia, which stars Tom Hanks as an HIV-positive lawyer fighting for his rights and his life, is up against Latter Days, the classic coming out story of a Mormon missionary. Which film is more essential? Vote below, and check out our full list of the top 175 most essential LGBT movies at Advocate.com/top175.
Philadelphia encapsulates so many things that signify excellent filmmaking, but one of them is showing something that is simply true to life: When we get to know people who are different from ourselves, we become better people. Tom Hanks's unparalleled performance as Andrew Beckett, a man who is fighting for his dignity and his life, convinces small-time (and homophobic) lawyer Joe Miller, played by Denzel Washington, to represent him in a wrongful-termination suit. The film came out before there were revolutionary drugs that helped save the lives of many with HIV and AIDS. Meanwhile, it followed the initial shock of the epidemic, which led to heightened paranoia on one side, and on the other, a better understanding of the virus itself. Philadelphia is undoubtedly a groundbreaking time capsule. —Michelle Garcia
Long before the South Park team took on The Book of Mormon, gay writer-director and former Mormon C. Jay Cox explored the damage done to families by the antigay attitudes within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints with his ultimately sweet film Latter Days. Sure, the film falls into some classic rom-com tropes — the closeted Mormon missionary moves to Los Angeles, where he encounters the sassy, out actor-turned-waiter ironically named Christian in a predictable laundry room meet-cute — but the performances turned in, especially by Steve Sandvoss as the conflicted missionary, are honest and powerful. Keep an eye out for scene-stealing supporting actors like Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Elder Paul Ryder, Rebekah Johnson as Christian’s musician roomie Julie Taylor, and even Jacqueline Bisset and Amber Benson. —Sunnivie Brydum
Vote here on Facebook or Twitter by Sunday, June 29, and check in every day for more Clash of The Classics.
— The Advocate (@TheAdvocateMag) June 26, 2014